via ZMDC to stave off Amari threat – NewsDay Zimbabwe 18 September 2014 by Ndamu Sandu
THE Zimbabwe Mining Development Corporation (ZMDC) has dispatched a team to Belgium to ward off moves by a South African company to attach proceeds from the diamond sales at the Antwerp World Diamond Centre (AWDC).
This comes after Amari won a temporary relief to freeze the proceeds from the auction.
The company took Zimbabwe to the International Court of Arbitration with a $500 million lawsuit after Harare had cancelled its joint venture with ZMDC in 2010.
Amari argued that it had already committed money in exploration.
ZMDC acting general manager Wilson Chinzou confirmed the trip.
“We have dispatched a team to go and correct issues. It comprises of ZMDC members and our lawyers [Farai Mutamangira]. We haven’t lost anything. It’s a court process by Amari to try and attach proceeds from the sales,” he said.
The trip to Belgium is a culmination of meetings this week on the threat from Amari.
It was then resolved that a team should leave for Brussels to settle matters, insiders said yesterday.
At least 500 000 carats from, Jinan Mining, Anjin Investments, Diamond Mining Corporation, Mbada Diamonds, Marange Resources and DTZ OZgeo were being sold at AWDC — the third time since last year — as Zimbabwe prepares for a local auction in November. The tender ran from September 4 to 16.
Amari entered into a joint venture with ZMDC to form Zimari. The joint venture company was in the process of a $200 million platinum project in Selous. The project was stopped when the joint venture licence was cancelled.
Since the lifting of the embargo on Marange producers by the European Union, Zimbabwe has managed to sell diamonds at two tenders in Antwerp. In addition, Marange diamonds have been sold at two tenders in Dubai.
Experts say Zimbabwe should not only sell its diamonds, but rather seek technical assistance from AWDC for value addition inside the country to obtain maximum value from its diamonds.
In a report titled: The Second Antwerp Tender of Marange Diamonds, the Centre for Natural Resource Governance (CNRG), said Antwerp has been in the value addition industry for 500 years and Zimbabwe should capitalise on that instead of being a perennial supplier of rough diamonds.
“A strategic plan should be drawn with the aim of making Zimbabwe a regional centre for cutting and polishing diamonds in central and southern Africa, say by 2020,” the watchdog said.
“Since about 57% of rough diamonds in the global supply come from southern Africa, Zimbabwe can also bank on regional supplies for a robust cutting and polishing industry.”
CNRG estimates that Zimbabwe could create over 210 000 jobs and generate over $8 billion in revenues annually if a significant percentage of its rough diamonds were cut and polished locally.